Here’s to fucking Puscifer – the anticipatory words of an eager fan moments before the venue doors opened. The night was opened with a glimmering blond haired beauty leading a yawning performance, in the form of Sweethead. The main hook of their band, was to rely on the curves of their leader rather then any musical originality. When Maynard and crew took the stage they were an audiophiles dream; utter perfection. Their performance was filled with humor, visual stimuli and a sound quality that is rare these days. Puscifer’s sound is more emotionally soft than Mr.Keenan’s past ensembles; but don’t pass it over, it will keep you involved to the very last note.
When the night began with the opening act sauntering to the stage with low levels of enthusiasm, a feeling of worry washed over me. The band of misfits filtering to the less then comfortable seats were eager for Maynard, and not looking to compromise. Then the lead singer swayed seductively in the low light. Her curves and the blond locks of her hair swaying to the rising beat of the drums. The white wash lights poured over her slowly to unveil her silver sequin dawned dress. The next sound in the venue was that of jaws dropping; who was this this red lipped temptress before us. For those unaware her name is Sierra Sims; she is the face of Sweethead. The relatively new band formed by Queens of the Stone Age’s guitarist turned producer, Troy Van Leeuwen.
Their sound really didn’t come across well. Creatively you can see the direction they are going with the act. A less main stream style with a heroin rock edge. Perhaps it was the lack of acceptance by the crowd; regardless you could clearly see the band struggle. The sexy singer tried to move with a gentle sway around the stage. This was prevented by constant issues with the cable on the mic; making her look like she was new to the stage. Overall the performance was mediocre at best but a glimmer of hope was shining threw. I will definitely keep my eyes on this band; starting with taking a closer listen to their recently released self titled album.
The maniacal Maynard enthusiasts were unwilling to wait patiently. Small pockets of chanting fanatics began demanding Mr.Keenans entrance to the stage. Soon enough Puscifer filtered before them. The stage was a miniature Vegas tribute, with the centre stage screen made to look like various bill boards during the performance. The dual singer setup was strange. Both Maynard and his female accompaniment stood behind small flat screens. These screens faced the crowd; but on the opposite side housed a live camera and microphone. Every time either singer leaned in to their mic, their faces were displayed on the screen facing the crowd. The lenses of both cameras, were obviously fish eyes; this made for a surreal affect. Most all because you could clearly still see the bodies of both singers, below their respective displays.
Puscifer put on a memorable show. It was fun and energetic throughout its entirety. The performance was funny, and visually diverse. To top it all off the music had major depth. The selection of this acoustically sound venue, was no mistake, it was a specific selection by Maynard. The delicate balance of his emotionally vulnerable sound and his heavier powerful alt-rock sound, we displayed in a symbiotic perfection. Keenan’s soft release of deep emotion, was truly touching. While his ability to dominate the air with his harder sound, proved equally awe inspiring. Throughout the venue the fist pumping fans mouthed out every word to every song. The dedication to Maynard through his fan base is unbelievable.
Throughout the stage performance, various member of the band would leave their posts and sit in red camping chairs. Staying only briefly to enjoy a glass of Maynard’s own red wine, then back to work. The drummer and bassist were a tight team; later I found out they were imported from Ashes Divide. As with all Keenan embodiments, he is the true star of the night. His low key, shy approach, still yield him as the main fixation on stage. The supporting female vocals were buried in the overall experience, but added their signature to every song. As with the rest of the tour, every night is blessed with a surprise guest. This night was no different, before our very eyes Tim Alexander, of Primus, took to the stage in a blue tooth fairy outfit. The spectacle of a six plus foot man, with massive physique, prancing the stage in a blue tutu was priceless.
To the benefit of the show, Mr.Alexander did in fact take to the drums and add a great touch to a few songs. Powering through his additions with pure raw explosiveness on the skins. Soon enough the show was completed the entire stage vacated in mere seconds. A satisfied crowd was ushered out of the venue and into the rainy streets of our fair city. A perfectly orchestrated, acoustically sound night highlighted by the influential styling of Mister Maynard James Keenan and his newest seed Puscifer.